British columnist Iain Martin leaves people baffled after appearing to slam BBC’s Gay Britannia

August 9, 2017
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A columnist who has worked for The Times has left the internet baffled, after claiming the BBC ‘ignored’ the 50th anniversary of partial decriminalisation.

Iain Martin, who wrote the bizarre piece on his website Reaction, asked: “Why has the BBC ignored the 50th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality?”

Initial responses to the piece seemed confused, with Twitter users pointing Martin to the BBC’s Gay Britannia season, which only today aired a documentary on Radio 4.

The broadcaster scheduled a ‘bold and provocative’ programme of content to mark the anniversary, including ‘Is It Okay to Be Gay in the UK?’, a shocking and moving documentary following the horrific assaults on LGBT people that continue across the country.

Actors Vanessa Redgrave and Simon Callow, Sandi Toksvig and Years and Years singer Olly Alexander were also part of the lineup, which has received much critical praise.

However, Martin seemed to be suggesting the programming was too much, in an ‘ironic’ piece about the coverage.

“The reform of 1967 was a landmark moment,” he writes. “You would think that the Beeb would have commissioned some kind of series of programmes, possibly stretching over an entire month on every channel for hours on end to highlight the anniversary. But no. Nothing on the nation’s airwaves.

“Possibly stretching over an entire month on every channel for hours on end to highlight the anniversary. But no. Nothing on the nation’s airwaves.

“Nothing. What a miss by the BBC. Not a mention, on every single channel, hour after hour, for days on end, of this historic 50th anniversary. Yet again the BBC has let down licence fee payers.”

He also goes onto list several of the programmes in the schedule, asking why indeed the channel hadn’t thought of running them.

Several users also question why he appeared to be suggesting there was too much programming around the anniversary.

“The suffering must have been terrible for you Iain,” adds one user. “Us gays can’t imagine how persecuted you must feel.”

Mark Maclean added: “I get it! You’re a straight, white male and there’s not enough stuff on telly featuring straight, white males doing stuff. Must be tough.”

Lawrence McKay asked: “Tell us, Mr Important Opinions Man, what is the right amount of gay we should allow on TV?”

On July 27, 1967, Parliament passed the Sexual Offences Act, a significant step in the process of decriminalising homosexuality.

However, while the law allowed homosexual sex, it could only be in private between two men aged over 21, and it only applied to England and Wales.

Related topics: 50th anniversary

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